Super Bowl LI First-Half Pick
In the NFL, statistics have shown that if you lead at halftime, then you are probably going to win the game — especially if it’s not on the road. So whichever teams goes into halftime of Super Bowl LI on Feb. 5 between the AFC champion New England Patriots and NFC champions Atlanta Falcons with the lead probably will win (if it’s not tied). The Pats are -1 on Super Bowl 51 lines on the first-half line with a total of 28.5. On the moneyline, the Pats are -135 and Falcons +115.
Super Bowl LI First-Half Pick
In this decade, teams leading at halftime of any game go on to win 85 percent of the time. Teams leading at halftime are 36-10 in Super Bowl history (3 ties). During the regular season, the Falcons led the NFL in first-half scoring at 18.8 points per game. In the NFC Championship Game, they led Green Bay 24-10.
On Atlanta’s first possession vs. the Packers, it drove 80 yards in 13 plays for a TD. The Falcons converted three third downs, the last when Matt Ryan scrambled away from pressure and flipped a shovel pass to Mohamed Sanu for a 2-yard score. Meanwhile, star WR Julio Jones finished with nine catches for 180 yards and two scores, which included a toe-dragging catch for a 5-yard touchdown with 3 seconds left in the first half, sending the Falcons to the locker room up with that 24-0 advantage.
In the 36-20 divisional round win over Seattle, the Falcons led 19-10 at halftime. After the Seahawks zipped down the field for a touchdown on the opening possession, Atlanta’s defense largely shut down Russell Wilson. Ryan hooked up with Jones on a 7-yard touchdown and Tevin Coleman for a 14-yard score before intermission.
The Patriots were only up 17-13 over Houston in the divisional round but pushed its lead to 24-13 early in the third quarter on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to James White. Houston’s Brock Osweiler was intercepted three times after that.
In the AFC Championship Game win over Pittsburgh, the Patriots led 17-9 at halftime. The key play of that game was late in the first half. The Steelers appeared to complete a 70-yard drive capped by Jesse James’ 19-yard TD reception. But video review showed James down at the 1, and the Steelers couldn’t get into the end zone, with Chris Boswell connecting for a 23-yard field goal. That lack of a TD deflated Pittsburgh and the game was basically over.
Sometimes teams new to the Super Bowl can play with jitters and get off to a slow start. The Patriots will have a significant edge in Houston. Only five members of the Falcons have been on the roster of a team in the Super Bowl, and only four have played in the big game. It could be important which team gets the opening kickoff — the Patriots as the visiting team will call the coin toss — and potentially scores on its opening drive.
Super Bowl LI First-Half Pick & Prediction:
Go with the experienced Pats to have a small lead at halftime on NFL odds.